Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Former President Bill Clinton Visits New York Harbor School

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It's not every day a former president visits on the first day of classes, but that's exactly what students at the New York Harbor School on Governors Island got to experience. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Just another passenger on one of the New York Harbor School's boats? Not quite. It was the 42nd president of the United States paying a visit.

"I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I was, but he's pretty laid back," said Erik Wiemer, a student at the New York Harbor School. "It was cool to meet him."

Clinton spoke with students about their participation in the Billion Oyster Project, a long-term plan to restore 1 billion live oysters to New York Harbor over the next two decades, helping both the water quality and the ecosystem. The Clinton Foundation's Global Initiative is dedicated to helping find solutions to some of the world's problems.

"It's going to clean up the water and build oyster reefs, which will help protect the city against future Superstorm Sandys," Clinton said.

The former president sat in on an aquaculture class and then spoke to students and faculty from the school, which prepares kids for college while giving them industry certification in marine science and technology.

"You literally will be able to walk out of here with a certification approved by industry and experts in one of six areas that will make you a relatively rare hot commodity, and enough academic credits to go to college," Clinton said.

Clinton was impressed during his visit to the New York Harbor School and hopes there will be more schools like it across the country in the future.

"We need to understand that when we trigger people's sense of empowerment with practical skills in areas they care about, they learn more across the board," he said. "It's just a great, great thing."

Clinton told the students there is enormous hope that not only will they have a good time and learn something, but that somehow, the rest of us will learn from them.

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